Will Silver Lake’s Black Cat come back?

Photo by Sarah Dryden

The “Le Barcito” sign has come down from the front of  Silver Lake’s former Gay Latino bar  as the new owners build a new bar and restaurant inside.  While the new owners operate the Village Idiot on Melrose Avenue,  there are indications that they may not simply repeat the Village Idiot name in Silver Lake but instead pay homage to a piece of L.A. gay history. The same building that housed Le Barcito was once home to another gay bar,  The Black Cat Tavern, where in 1967 LAPD officers beat and arrested gay patrons, triggering one of the nation’s first gay rights demonstrations, In 2008, the city declared the building a historic landmark. While the Le Barcito name has been removed from the top of the purple facade, the smiling image of a black cat – a hold over from the old bar – still remains at the top of the sign overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Meanwhile, the state alcohol license application that was filed by the new owners says the business name is “Black Cat.” So, what do the new owners have in mind?


Wes Joe,  a Silver Lake resident who worked on the Black Cat historic monument application, said the new owners told him they were looking into the rights to use the Black Cat name.  He said there was also a discussion about retaining what is presumed to be the original stand up bar over which two Black Cat bartenders were violently dragged over by LAPD officers, Joe said. Keeping that bar would help “tell the story” of the bar and the era, he said.

But it’s not clear what name or theme the new bar owners have settled on. The Eastsider has contacted the owners for comment.

“Hopefully the new “Black Cat” will honor the unique history of the space and provide a way to get in touch with it,” Joe said.


  1. Hopefully they’ll repaint the facade and better highlight some of the attractive art deco features there.

  2. Would be a great way to honor a true LA landmark.

  3. it’s going to be an sbux

  4. this will be awesome if it happens.

  5. Starbucks is next door in the old laundry mat.

    • I thought it was a Chipotle that was going into the laundromat. Perhaps they are dividing the space up to also fit a Starbucks….?

  6. Calling it The Black Cat would be nice…but it will still undoubtedly be full of straight, Anglo ugly art hispters, which is all The Sunset Junction is at this point. It is deeply depressing. Seeing baby carriages and wealthy ‘vegan families’ is absolutely nauseating. The change has been rapid, I have watched it out my window, daily. All of the wonderful Latino families and gays who made it such an eclectic and unusually diverse neighborhood, have been driven away. Rents are INSANE now, and the inhabitants completely uninterested in it’s origins.

    • No, not all of us have moved away. Not all of us are rich. Not all of us are whatever you mean by “hipsters.” I’ve lived two blocks away for 30 years, and the neighborhood has changed. That doesn’t mean it’s gotten worse, only more mixed than it was.

  7. Tom of Finland Rep

    I realy hope the name of the Black Cat continues on lest we forgeet our history and reapeat it, and just the name in itself is swank. Lest keep some of our LA loure and have that ol Black Cat meowing for more. I mean come on this predates Stone Wall not that any cares, right ?

  8. Sounds exciting, cant wait for it to open!

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